Washington, D.C.’s culinary community came together for the 2017 Capital Food Fight on Thursday, November 16 at the Ronald Reagan Building to raise money for DC Central Kitchen. The annual extravaganza hosted by celebrity chef/humanitarian/all-around awesome human being José Andrés (Jaleo, Fish, Zaytinya, and many others) featured a star-studded supporting cast, including chef Spike Mendelsohn, Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman, and TV personality Adam Richman.
A live cooking competition showcased four local chefs going head-to-head – Douglas Alexander, executive chef of Art and Soul, Hamilton Johnson, executive chef of Honeysuckle, Bobby Pradachith, chef-owner of Thip Khao, and Miranda Rosenfelt, executive chef of Sally’s Middle Name. After several fierce battles, Rosenfelt took home the trophy and boasting rights.
While the action and an auction unfolded on the main stage, 80 restaurants plied the crowd with top fare. Best dishes of the night included two plays on Turducken. Ryan Hackney, executive chef of The Bird, offered one in meatball form, while Austin Fausett, executive chef of Proof, did his as one-bite croquette with turkey gravy aioli and cranberry sauce. Other standouts included soft focaccia with duck bolognese and a micro quenelle of ricotta from Pizzeria Orso, Carolina gold rice congee from Beuchert’s Saloon, and a succulent pork dumpling from Art and Soul.
Though many of the chefs in attendance appear at innumerable charity events throughout the year, they make a point of participating in Capital Food Fight because of their personal connection. “DC Central Kitchen brings us staff and is a great part of the community,” said Ben Pflaumer, executive chef of Osteria Morini. “Plus, it’s been pretty amazing to see what José Andrés has been able to do this year for Puerto Rico and elsewhere across the country, so I want to support him and his cause.”
By the end of the night, an impressive $638,000 had been raised and guests were already looking forward to Capital Food Fight 2018.
Photo credits: Megan Pattee.